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Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenthood: Understanding Its Responsibilities and Impact on Life

by
Beverly White


Contents of Curriculum Unit 94.01.07:

To Guide Entry


I. Introduction

I have taught English in New Haven on the high school level for twelve years and during that time I have witnessed many teenage girls becoming pregnant with disastrous results - they leave school altogether; they miss an entire year due to the pregnancy, thus graduating a year later; receive low grades or fail due to excessive absences related to the health of their child or their failure to complete homework assignments because they are too tired after seeing to their child’s needs; or the teenager experiences repeated childbearing. Two young ladies in my eleventh grade English classes had their second child this year.

The prevention of teenage pregnancy does not fall within the scope of my responsibilities as an English teacher, but as I view it, the situation is so critical that whatever one can do to raise the consciousness of teenagers to the grave mistake they are making would be beneficial. If through involvement in this curriculum unit just one teenager delays the onset of pregnancy until marriage, my efforts will have been highly successful.

A. Facts

Adolescent pregnancy is widely viewed in our society as a serious problem. More than one million teenage girls in the United States become pregnant each year, just over 400,000 teenagers get abortions, and nearly 470,000 give birth. For the most part these births are to unmarried mothers, nearly half of whom have not yet reached their eighteenth birthday.

Since 1970 adolescent pregnancy and childbearing have remained higher in the United States than in the majority of other developed countries in the world. Girls in the United States under age fifteen are at least five times more likely to give birth than their foreign counterparts (Hayes, 1).

An article in Newsweek magazine pointed out that there has been a steep rise in out-of-wedlock births since the 1960’s among women aged 15-34. In the years 1960-64, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births for whites was 9% and 42% for blacks. In years 1985-1989, it was 22% for whites and 70% for blacks (Newsweek, 19).

The prospects for a healthy and productive life are greatly reduced for teenage parents and their children. Young mothers who, for varied reasons, lack adequate nutrition and appropriate prenatal care, are at a high risk for pregnancy complications; they are more likely to experience a repeat pregnancy while still in the teens. The infants of teenage mothers also face greater developmental and health risks.

Teenage families with children are usually fatherless, and most are poor. Teenage marriages, when they occur, are highly unstable. In addition, teenage parents, both male and female, suffer the negative impact that early parenting has on their education and career opportunities. Chronic unemployment and inadequate income is usually the norm for teenage parents. Because these young people often do poorly in the workplace, they and their children are highly likely to become dependent on public assistance and to remain dependent longer than those who delay childbearing until their twenties (Hayes, 1-2).

B. Causes

The aforementioned facts are disturbing; because one would think that in an “enlightened age” such as ours with contraceptives, sex education, and the availability of legal abortion, young people would not permit their lives to be in such a precarious situation. The question then arises, why? Why do young people who are hardly more than children themselves become parents?

The following list of reasons are based upon my personal observations obtained through twelve years of teaching experience with adolescents, fourteen through eighteen-years-old, in the New Haven Public School system.

Many teens become pregnant as a result of peer pressure. Everyone seems to be doing it, and having a baby seems to be the norm. If you do not have a child you appear to be missing out on an important experience in life. If a girl’s sister or close friend has a child, it usually follows that the young lady will follow their example.

There is also another, sometimes greater, pressure on girls and that is from their boyfriends, who encourage them to become sexually active as a way to prove their commitment to a relationship. The girl, desiring to be popular and accepted by the boy, yields to the pressure and becomes pregnant.

As incredible as it seems, many of today’s teens become pregnant through sexual ignorance. Their parents find it impossible, through lack of time or embarrassment, to impart correct information about sex to their children. Many school systems do not have adequate sex education programs as part of their curriculum and those who do have teachers who are ill-prepared to teach the subject. Very often this task is relegated to teachers of physical education, home economics, and science. Sex education should start in the primary grades and continue throughout high school. If young people do not have the right information they operate according to sexual myths such as:

¥ You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex.
¥ You won’t get pregnant if your partner interrupts the sex act before he comes to a climax.
The media in this country glorifies sex and irresponsible behavior. Music videos show nothing but lewd, suggestive dance movements. The song lyrics suggest that women are low creatures whose sole purpose in life is to gratify a man’s sexual desires. Movies, soap operas, and sitcoms hardly ever show a married couple having a wholesome family relationship. Instead, single people are portrayed in bed-hopping situations, involved in adulterous affairs, and having children out of wedlock. Last season, even Murphy Brown had a baby without being married. People on television are usually looked up to as role-models. If your favorite star or television character does it, then it must be all right.

Finally, a reason why many teenagers become untimely parents is because many come from homes where there is a perceived lack of love. Many of these homes are headed by one parent, usually the mother, who is either working or “doing her own thing.” The teen, feeling unloved and wanting someone on whom to lavish the love they never received, makes the decision to get pregnant. They want the joy of having their very own baby to hold, love and do things for.

The preceding opinions on the causes of teenage pregnancy were personal; the following views are taken from other sources.

The United States National Research Council says that teenagers become parents due to a lack of individual responsibility, maturity, knowledge, and values. Teenage parenthood results from the problems associated with poverty, including limited education and employment opportunities and the likelihood of growing up in a fatherless family (Hayes, 2).

A Newsweek poll of African Americans asked the question, “How important are the following reasons young, unmarried black people today are having children?”

53% They don’t understand sex or birth control.
48% They won’t use birth control or have an abortion for personal or religious reasons.
38% They want something of their own.
37% They want to prove they are adults.
35% They are following the examples of older people they know.(Newsweek, 1993, p. 29).
A study by D.L. Rhode lists several causes for teenage pregnancy.

Few if any societies exhibit a more perverse combination of permissiveness and prudishness in their treatment of sexual issues. A majority of Americans no longer view premarital intercourse as wrong, and the media bombards teens with scenes of sexual involvement and innuendo. Sex is often presented as a goal in and of itself, with little discussion of its risks or of responsible contraceptive behavior. Female adolescents remain subject to double standards that make spontaneous intercourse seem acceptable but suggest that adequate preparation is evidence of promiscuity. Conventional norms present casual sex as unacceptable but declare teenagers too young for serious relationships. On major television networks, sex sells everything automobiles to laundry detergent but advertisements for birth control remain almost taboo. Our cultural imagery links masculinity with sexual prowess and femininity with sexual attractiveness. As a result, teenagers become so confused by the ambivalence of American society and the mixed messages they receive from everywhere that they do not know what to do, so they do what seems to them natural and right. The result is an unplanned; unwanted pregnancy (Rhode, 316).

Finally many teenagers become pregnant because of limited available choices. For minority, poor, and rural youth, becoming a teen parent is often an acceptable adult choice to the teen’s community and family. In some communities teenage motherhood is accepted as both normal and traditional. For example, since the early twentieth century it has been the pattern for almost 40 percent of black women in the United States to become mothers before the age of twenty (Pearce, 48-49).

C. Solutions

After reviewing the alarming statistics related to teenage pregnancy and the reasons why teens become premature parents we will now turn our attention to what is being done to prevent teenage pregnancy. What successful teenage prevention programs are in operation? What makes them work?

Girls Incorporated, formerly the Girls Clubs of America, began a major project in 1985 to help young women in avoiding pregnancy. The program involved 750 girls and young women ages 12 to 17, it consisted of four components, and it lasted for three years.

The program and its results are as follows:

¥ Growing Together - a series of parent-daughter workshops for younger teens designed to increase positive communication about sexual information and values, decreasing adolescent pregnancy by delaying the onset of sexual intercourse.
____Findings: Girls who participated in the workshops were less than half as likely as nonparticipants to have sexual intercourse for the first time.
¥ Will Power/Won’t Power - an assertiveness training program for younger teens designed to help them say and mean “No” while remaining popular with peers of both sexes.
____Findings: The girls who participated in nearly the entire program of Will Power/Won’t Power were the least likely to have sexual intercourse.
¥ Taking Care of Business - a structured program designed to increase the older teens’ motivation and skills to avoid pregnancy through educational and career planning, goal-setting, communication skills and responsible decision-making about sexual behavior and contraception.
____Findings: The young women who participated in nearly the entire program of Taking Care of Business were about half as likely as non-participants to have sex without birth control. Consistent participants were one-third as likely as the short-term participants to become pregnant.
¥ Health Bridge - a delivery system that links education at Girls Incorporated centers with community-based health (including reproductive health) services, addressing the psychological and logistical barriers many young people offer as reasons for not practicing effective contraception when they first start having intercourse.
____Findings: Those young women who participated in Health Bridge reported having sex without birth control one-third as often as non-participants. Health Bridge participants also were less than half as likely to become pregnant as nonparticipants (Truth, Trust and Technology v-vi).
A recent trend has been spearheaded by teenagers themselves. Southern Baptist youth pledged to abstain from sex until marriage. At the 137th annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention there was a display of 100,000 cards pledging chastity. The cards read, “to God, myself, my family, those I date, my future mate and my future children, I pledge to be sexually pure until the day I enter a covenant relationship” (New Haven Register, C5).

These teenagers, in an effort to control their sexual activity before marriage, have connected this issue with religious beliefs. They want to set new standards for their generation and not follow those set by their parents - the baby boomers - whose sexual freedom opened the door to so much of today’s sexually irresponsible, promiscuous behavior.

The Washington Post reported a decline in teenage pregnancies in Maryland after a four-year statewide campaign was conducted to lower the burgeoning teen birthrates. The improvement was attributed to several state initiatives, which included an intense media drive to try to encourage teenagers to postpone having sex. For example, some of the slogans read: “Talk your baby out of having one.” “Silence breeds babies,” and “It’s amazing how many guys disappear when one of these shows up.” The latter slogan shows a picture of a baby. The state also opened three family planning clinics in communities that had particularly high rates of teenage pregnancy (The Washington Postâ 1).

Successful teenage prevention programs share some common characteristics:

¥ The involvement of teenagers, parents, and community leaders in planning and ongoing support for these programs appears to be important for any successful program.
¥ Many times as an outgrowth of parent participation, parents request activities that are designed to meet their own needs for information and to improve their skills in communicating with their children.
¥ The curriculum content of successful programs approaches the topic of sex education broadly in the context of human growth, development, and relationships. They usually include discussions and activities that emphasize the examination of values and responsible decision making in the area of sexual behavior and developing communication skills. Most also include information about contraception.
¥ Training teachers is probably the single most crucial aspect of achieving success in any sex education program. It is the quality of the teacher that often creates the greatest parental concern about school-based programs, and, among the teachers themselves, there is doubt about their ability to teach sex and family life education (Ooms, 235-236).

D. Conclusion

In conclusion research reveals that teenage girls in the United States under the age of fifteen are more likely to give birth than their counterparts who live in foreign industrialized countries such as Canada, England, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Early parenthood has a negative impact on the prospects for a healthy and productive life. Young mothers are at a high risk for pregnancy complications and their infants face greater developmental and health risks. Teenage parents suffer the negative effects that early parenthood have on their education and career opportunities.

The question then arises, why do young people who are hardly more than children themselves become parents? The reasons are varied. Many teens become pregnant as a result of peer pressure, pressure from boyfriends to prove their love, and the media does not help the situation as it bombards teens with scenes of sexual involvement and innuendo. Still other teenagers become pregnant because in their particular community and family becoming a teen parent is the acceptable, adult choice to make.

Now we turn to the issue of what is being done to prevent teenage pregnancy. In Maryland teenage pregnancy dropped due to the involvement of the state. The state of Maryland initiated an intense media blitz aimed at persuading teenagers to postpone having sex. The state also created three family planning clinics for teenagers in communities where the teen pregnancy rates were particularly high. Southern Baptist youth initiated a “True Love Waits” campaign in which they vowed to abstain from sex until marriage. Girls Incorporated, formerly the Girls Clubs of America, conducted a highly successful project to help young women in avoiding pregnancy. The results of the program were that participants were able to delay the onset of sexual intercourse, and those who did have sex were more likely to use birth control, therefore, participants were less than half as likely to become pregnant as nonparticipants.

There have been some inroads made into the problem of adolescent pregnancy through various programs. The answer to this problem seems to lie in the development of more viable prevention programs. Therefore, the state, its agencies, and community agencies have a formidable task set before them, that of developing more programs that discourage teenagers from having sex and that promote birth control among those who are sexually active.

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II. Objectives

A. Students would receive factual knowledge from competent individuals on the various methods of pregnancy prevention.
B. Students would come away from involvement in this unit having improved their self-esteem and having learned how to be assertive when communicating with others.
C. Students would learn that with parenthood there comes serious responsibilities.
D. Students would realize that premature parenthood has an impact on their future lives.
E. Students will become acquainted with some legal issues surrounding teenage pregnancy.

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III. Teaching Plans for Objectives

A. Students would receive factual knowledge from competent individuals on the various methods of pregnancy prevention.

1. I would have a speaker from Planned Parenthood or someone from a local women’s health center to present the various methods of pregnancy prevention. After hearing and seeing the presentation and hearing the pros and cons of such methods as condoms, diaphragms, pills, shots, and Norplant, students could then ask frank questions.
2. As a follow-up activity, students could have a discussion on whether or not condoms should be offered to students from school clinics. We would also discuss parental reactions to the distribution of condoms from school clinics.
3. Students could also be assigned research projects on such topics as the pill, RU 486, “the morning after pill” from France, and Norplant. There was a recent television program dealing with the problems many women faced in having Norplant removed from their arms, which could result in a class action suit. I would present the latter issue as a research project for students to find out the status of the suit.
4. As literary activity, I would have the class read My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel, which deals with the issue of teenage pregnancy. There is a humorous section in the novel when a high schoolteacher tells her female students that when on a date and you find yourself in a potentially hot and heavy situation, have the strength to break away and suggest to your date, “let’s get a hamburger.”
B. Students would come away from involvement with this unit having improved their self-esteem and having learned how to be assertive when communicating with others.

1. These two particular objectives speak to the peer or boyfriend pressure issues. Students would learn through activities conducted by a parenting teacher strategies that would empower them not to yield to any one’s pressure and that it is acceptable to say, “No” and mean “No.”
2. I would invite the school social worker to my class to conduct a mini workshop on the topic of building self-esteem.
3. Students would record what they learned about assertiveness and self-esteem in their journals.
C. Students would learn that with parenthood there comes serious responsibilities.

1. An activity that could be used just to allow students to experience first-hand the responsibilities of parenthood would be to use the “Flour Babies” project. This is the activity where the students would carry around a doll or a five pound sack of flour for a week pretending they were a parent. They would have to see to the care of their pseudo-child twenty-four hours a day. They would have to bring the child with them to school. It couldn’t be put in their locker. If they had something to do that didn’t include the child, they would have to arrange for child care services.
2. As an ongoing writing activity students would record in their journals, on a daily basis, for a week their experiences as a parent, difficulties encountered, and their thoughts, in general, about being a teenage parent.
D. I would want my students to realize that premature parenthood has an impact on their lives.

1. Someone who has experienced teen pregnancy with all of its pressures and implications for the future would be an excellent coordinator for a round-table discussion. This year I met a bus-driver who was in her twenties who told me that if she had her life to live over she would have waited to have her family. Students would most likely relate and listen to someone “who has been there.”
____a. As a follow-up activity I would give my students an assignment of interviewing a teen parent or a former teen parent. They would then share their results with the class.
2. I would also invite a parenting teacher as a speaker who would talk about the implications of teenage parenthood. Parenting teachers meet with female students who are parents or who are pregnant on a weekly basis in a class in the high school. The girls go through a course that covers such issues as caring for the baby, how babies develop, their needs as a teenage parent, etc.
3. For the above speakers I would have my students develop a list of appropriate questions to ask after each presentation.
4. I would use the novel Mr. and Mrs. Bo Joe Jones which is the story of a young couple faced with a pregnancy. This novel would be the catalyst for many group discussions, writing and role-playing activities such as:
____a.For the student who is not a parent:
________-How do you think you would feel if you were faced with parenthood at this point in your life?
________-How would you handle the situation? Why would you do it that way?
________-Do you think your decision would have any impact on your future? How?
________-Role-playing the boy and girl involved in the pregnancy: What kinds of things would they say to each other?
____b.For the student who is a parent:
________-How did you feel when you were faced with parenthood? Why?
________-How did you handle the situation? Why did you deal with it that way?
________-How has your decision impacted your future?
________-What kinds of things did you and your partner discuss after you discovered that you were pregnant?
____c. Students who are parents may not want to talk openly about the questions or participate in the role-playing activities. The teacher must be sensitive to the reluctance of some students and plan the lesson accordingly.
E. The final objective of this unit will be to acquaint students with some legal issues surrounding teenage pregnancy.

My intention in this section of the curriculum unit is to make students aware of some legal issues which surround teenage pregnancy such as parental and familial rights and responsibilities. The following three items would be used on a handout.

1. Rights and Responsibilities of the Pregnant Teenager:
____a. In order to qualify for government aid programs a pregnant minor must identify the putative father and then institute a paternity suit.
____b. Once the paternity of a child is established, the court may order the father to pay reasonable expenses for the birth of the child and to establish a schedule of monthly allowances for the care and support of the child (Barkin, 67).
2. Rights and Responsibilities of the Putative Father:
____a. Florida law provides that, if paternity can be established the putative father must provide financial support for the unmarried mother and her child.
____b. Recently it was held that a putative father cannot enjoin an unmarried minor from aborting their child. The court found that a woman has a fundamental right to decide to terminate her pregnancy during its first trimester. This right of the mother is not conditioned on the consent of the child’s father (Barkin, 68-69).
3. Rights of the Pregnant Teenager’s Parents:
____a. An unmarried minor still living with her parents is entitled to the support of her parents. If the minor is unable to support her child, the grandparents are under no legal obligation to support their grandchild (Barkin, 69).
F. Teaching Plans for the section of the curriculum unit dealing with legal issues.

1. I would have the students look up the definitions of vocabulary words used in a handout that I would distribute listing parental and familial rights and responsibilities under the law.
2. The class would read the handout of parent and family rights and responsibilities; then they would discuss questions formulated by the teacher.

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IV. Classroom Activities

A. After reading chapter one in the novel My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel students would discuss orally or write the answers to the following questions:

1. What was Miss Fanuzzi’s answer to the question of how to stop a boy if he wants to go all the way?
2. What underlying message was the teacher trying to get across to the students by giving such a humorous reply?
B. Assign students the task of reading chapter six in My Darling, My Hamburger which consists of a letter written to Sean from Liz. In the letter Liz expresses her deep emotions concerning their romantic involvement, his pressing her to have sex, and her family problems.

1. As the students read chapter six I would ask them to look for any part of the letter with which they could identify. Then they would write about a personal experience related to that part of the letter. They would either write the assignment as an entry in their journals or as an essay.
2. I would review the parts of a letter with the students; then I would ask them to compose a letter to a close or romantic friend in which they would discuss some aspect of their friendship or a difficult family situation. For example, a student could express in a letter their dismay over not being trusted by parents and how their parents are always searching through their things.
3. In chapter six the “Winter Starlight Dance” is announced. With the help of our art instructor, I would ask the students to design posters for the dance. They would use large poster paper and markers or crayons.
C. The following are some general questions on the novel as a whole:

1. Discuss in writing or orally the relation-ships between Sean and Liz. Maggie and Dennis. Also include how they are similar. How are they different?
2. Both couples find themselves caught between desire and their fear of intimacy. What specific incidents from the novel speak to the issues of their desires and fears? Relate them in writing or orally. This is left up to the discretion of the teacher.
3. After Liz found out that she was pregnant she made plans for the future with Sean. What were the plans? How did Sean react to Liz’s plans? Were Liz’s future plans realistic or unrealistic? Why or why not?
4. Briefly discuss the issue of abortion and abortion services using pamphlets from the Planned Parenthood agency.
____a. Read chapter fourteen to see what effect Liz’s abortion had on her, Sean and Maggie.
5. What adverse effect does the pregnancy have on Liz and Sean’s future?
D. In connection with the objective of wanting students to realize that premature parenthood has an impact on their lives and with the assignment to interview a teen parent or a former teen parent, the students and I would formulate a set of questions to be used in the interview.

1. How old were you when you got pregnant?
2. Why do you think you got pregnant? Give several reasons why.
3. How did you react to the pregnancy? The father? Your family? His family? Your friends?
4. Give your opinion of the following options: termination of the pregnancy, carrying the pregnancy to term, or adoption. Why do you feel this way about each option?
5. How did your choice of having the baby affect your life?
6. If you could live your life over, would you become a teen parent again? Why or why not?
E. These classroom activities are connected with the objective of acquainting students with some legal issues surrounding teenage pregnancy.

1. Before distributing the handout on the rights and responsibilities of teen parents and their families I would have the students look up the definition of a list of unfamiliar words to facilitate their understanding of the legal issues:
____a. putative
____b. paternity
____c. suit
____d. enjoin
____e. fundamental
____f. terminate
____g. institute (the verb form)
____h. established
____i. trimester
____j. obligation
____k. rationale
____The class would then review the meanings of the words and I would use each word in a sentence to show its usage.
2. I would distribute copies of the legal handout to the students. I would call on individual students to read the various sections aloud. At intervals I would answer any questions the students had or entertain any of their immediate comments on the reading material.
____The class would then discuss their opinion, debate or write their answers to the following questions formulated by the teacher:
____a. Do you think it is fair that the courts require the putative father to support the child? Shouldn’t the mother be required to provide at least half of the support? Why or why not?
____b. What recourse for support will the unwed teenager have if the father is also a minor?
____c. Do you think the pregnant minor should be able to proceed against the minor father’s parents for the unpaid amounts? Why or why not?
d. How do you feel about a court decision that says that a putative father cannot stop an unmarried minor from aborting their child? Why?
e. What government benefits are available to the pregnant teenager or minor parent? This particular question could be used as a mini research project where the student would be required to contact social service agencies such as the Welfare or Health Departments to find the answers.
f. I would ask the students to silently reread the section on the handout that deals with the rights of the pregnant teen’s parents? Then I would present them with the question, “What rationale do you think there is for the courts saying that the unmarried minor living with her parents is entitled to the support of her parents, but the grandparents are under no legal obligation to support their grandchild?”

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Annotated Bibliography for Teachers

Barkin, Eugene N. “Legal Issues Surrounding Teenage Pregnancy.” In Teenage Parents and Their Offspring, pp. 55-71. Edited by Keith G. Scott, Ph.D.; Tiffany Field, Ph.D.; and Euan G. Robertson, M.D., New York: Grune and Stratton, 1981.

The purpose of this chapter is to explore some of the legal aspects of the problem of teenage pregnancy.

Furstenberg, Frank F. Unplanned Parenthood: The Social Consequences of Teenage Childbearing. New York: The Free Press, 1976.

This book focuses on how and why early childbearing jeopardizes the life prospects of the young mother and her child.

Garfinkel, Irwin, and McLanaham, Sara S. Single Mothers and Their Children. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 1986.

This book concerns itself with the poverty of single mothers and the issue of welfare reform.

Girls Inc. Truth, Trust and Technology. Summary report on the Girls Incorporated program development and research project. October 1991.

This is a report on the Girls Incorporated research project for preventing adolescent pregnancy. According to their findings the program seemed to be successful.

Goldstein, Amy. “Teenage Pregnancy Drops in Maryland.” The Washington Post, 27 November 1991, p. 1.

This article reports on the decline in teen pregnancy rates after the state of Maryland intervened through prevention programs. This would be a good article for your students to read and respond to through writing or discussion.

Ingrassia, Michele. “Endangered Family.” Newsweek, August 1993, pp. 17-21.

This article presents a bleak future for the American family. Here is another article that can be shared with students.

National Research Council. Risking the Future: Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy, and Childbearing, Vol. I. Edited by Cheryl D. Hayes. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1987.

This book presents data on the trends in adolescent pregnancy and childbearing and the consequences of the behavior and it makes proposals for helpful programs.

Pearce, Diana M. “Children Having Children: Teenage Pregnancy and Public Policy From the Woman’s Perspective.” In The Politics of Pregnancy, pp. 46-58. Edited by Annette Lawson and Deborah L. Rhode. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

This chapter considers how viewing teen pregnancy from the perspective of “children having children” affects public policies about teenage pregnancy. The author believes that pregnant and parenting teens should be viewed as adult young women who can learn to control their lives and overcome the barriers they face.

Rhode, Deborah L. “Adolescent Pregnancy and Public Policy.” In The Politics of Pregnancy, pp. 301-335. Edited by Annette Lawson and Deborah L. Rhode. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

This chapter explores public policies on adolescent pregnancy. The author’s premise is that many public policies often misdiagnose the problem and mislead as to the solution.

Scales, Peter. “Sex Education and the Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy: An Overview of Policies and Programs in the United States.” In Teen Pregnancy in a Family Context, pp. 213-253. Edited by Theodorea Ooms. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981.

This chapter describes and analyzes the variety of sex education programs being offered throughout the country.

“Teens Vow Premarital Chastity.” New Haven Register, 15 June 1994, p. C5.

This newspaper article reports on a new trend sweeping the nation, that being teenagers taking a pledge to abstain from sex until marriage. Here is another fine article that can be shared with your students.

Williams, Constance Willard. Black Teenage Mothers. Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and Company, 1991.

The book focuses on a study of the experiences of pregnancy and childbearing among black adolescent females.

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Annotated Reading List for Students

A. The Coping series is helpful to adolescents involved in the many problems that confront society today. These books are indispensable in that they deal with subjects that many students find difficult to discuss. The series is written at a 6.0 - 8.0 reading level. The interest level is grade 7 and up. The books listed below can be ordered from Wieser Educational, Inc.; 30085 Comercio, Dept. 594, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688.

1. Coping Through Self-Esteem
2. Coping Through Assertivenessa. Both books above could be used in conjunction with the second objective that deals with building self-esteem and assertiveness.
3. Coping With Being Pregnant
4. Coping With School Age Fatherhood
5. Coping With School Age Motherhood
____a. The three books above would work well with objectives three and four that deal with the responsibilities of parenthood and the impact of early parenthood on their future.
6.
____a. This book could be used in conjunction with the first objective of pregnancy prevention.
7. Coping With A Romantic Breakupa. This book could be used along with My Darling, My Hamburger. There is a section that deals with the romantic breakup of Liz and Sean.
B. Head, Ann. Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones. New York: New American Library, 1967. A story of a young couple faced with a pregnancy. The reading level is grade 7. The interest level is grade 7 and up.

C. Zindel, Paul. My Darling, My Hamburger. New York: Bantam Books, 1969. An easy reading young adult book that deals frankly with the growing pains of today’s youth. The novel deals with a pregnancy that ends in an abortion. The reading level is grade 6. The interest level is grade 10 and up.

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Annotated List of Materials for Classroom Use

A. Black and White speckled composition notebooks to be used for journal writing.

B. The Coping series of books to be used to enhance the objective areas. See the annotated reading list for students for more detailed information. ($13.95 per copy or $245.00 for series)

C. A handout entitled “Legal Issues Surrounding Teenage Pregnancy” which includes sections on the rights and responsibilities of the pregnant teenager, the putative father, and the pregnant teenager’s parents to be read in conjunction with the fifth objective of law issues.

D. A five pound sack of flour or sugar; or a doll to be used for the “Flour Babies” project:

____1. There is a teleplay of the “Flour Babies” project in an edition of the Scholastic Scope magazine. The play could be read as an introductory activity before actually beginning the project. A copy of the play will be on file at the Institute office.

E. Art Activity - Students would need poster size paper and markers or crayons to design a poster advertising the “Winter Starlight Dance” in chapter six of My Darling, My Hamburger.

F. Students would need copies of the novels Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head ($3.99 per copy) and My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel. ($3.50 per copy). These two novels can be ordered from Sundance Publishers and Distributors, P.O. Box l326, Newtown Road, Littleton, MA 01460.

G. Students would need to have copies of The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary for looking up new vocabulary. ($4.99 per copy). The dictionaries can be ordered from Sundance Publishers and Distributors.

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